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Why Leeds Is Leading The Way When It Comes To Women In Tech
Why Leeds Is Leading The Way When It Comes To Women In Tech

With recent coverage in the media, you might be mistaken in thinking gender inequality in the Technology industry had all but narrowed.

Most of the giants of the industry now have women in executive roles from CEO and CFO to MDs, including the likes of Google, Facebook, YouTube, IBM, Microsoft, and Snapchat, to name a few.

High-profile female leaders are starting to emerge as brilliant role models for the next generation of techies. This is an amazing step forward and one which can’t come soon enough. Progress seems to be happening on a daily basis.

However, the stats from the industry still tell a different story. According to a 2017 ‘Women in Technology’ survey by PWC, 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice, 78% of students can’t name a famous female working in technology, and staggeringly only 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women!

Why Leeds Is Leading The Way When It Comes To Women In Tech
Empowering Woman With Tech Conference 2017 - Photo Credit: @leedsintfest

The PWC research of over 2,000 A-Level and university students showed that the gender gap in technology starts at school and carries on through every stage of girls’ and women’s lives. Only 27% of female students surveyed said that they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males, and only 3% said it was their first choice.

The cynics amongst us might say those female leaders in Technology are merely organisational nods towards gender equalitypublic demonstrations that the diversity tick-box has been checked off. But is that the case? Do firms genuinely care about this gender gap?

Well, here in Leeds there is a groundswell happening. Walking through the turnstiles in the train station, for example, huge profile shots of women in senior technology roles at Sky have advertised the push for equality in the regional industry – a visible badge of honour in the pride Leeds takes in this sphere.  

Why Leeds Is Leading The Way When It Comes To Women In Tech
Empowering Woman With Tech Conference 2017 - Photo Credit: @leedsintfest

Last year, Leeds was chosen to host the Northern chapter of the HealthTech Women programme (which aims to help promote female tech workers in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and IT and life-science industries). The event came to Futurelabs in Leeds and featured talks from women in the industry including Beverley Bryant, Head of Digital Technology at NHS England.

Likewise, women have led on making Leeds Digital Festival (taking place 16-27 April this year) a growing success. In 2017, over 100 events took place in more than 50 venues and attracted nearly 10,000 attendees across the city.

Sky hosted its own ‘Women in Technology’ event which showcased high-profile women via panels and speak sessions, while events like ‘People Like Me’ from WISE (Women in Science & Engineering) targeted future female tech experts. At the overarching Leeds International Festival, 67 percent of speakers were female. 

It’s fair to say, women have played a significant part in making Leeds one of the UK’s biggest technology hubs today. So, who are some of these influential women? 

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